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S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer Outed


A South Carolina politician with a lengthy antigay voting record who has repeatedly denied that he is gay is lying, according to blogger Mike Rogers.

Rogers, whose work outing closeted politicians who vote antigay figures heavily in the documentary Outrage, reports that South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer has reportedly flirted with several gay men, and one source claims to have had sex with him.

Two former Bauer staffers said the lieutenant governor spent hours alone with young men in hotel rooms on at least three occasions. The staffers also said the men he spent time with were not staff members and had no particular reason to spend time with him.

Bauer, who is unmarried, told The State newspaper in June that he was not gay.

"One word, two letters. 'No.' Let's go ahead and dispel that now," he said in the interview. "Is Andre Bauer gay? That is now the story. We're a long way from where we were a week ago. We have diverted what the real topic should be here: Is the governor capable for carrying on the duties for which he was elected?"

However, openly gay South Carolina politician Linda Ketner -- who lost a close race for a U.S. House seat in 2008 -- has been vocal about the secrecy of gay lawmakers in her state who prefer to keep quiet... like the lieutenant governor.

"We have more gay people serving in South Carolina than probably in anyplace in the United States -- they're just not out of the closet," she said in an interview with in May. "We have an awful lot of people in the closet -- Lindsey Graham, Glenn McConnell who's our Senate president pro tem, our Lt Governor..."

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford made headlines in June when he admitted to ducking his staff and his wife to keep secret a trip to Argentina to visit his lover.

Though Bauer has not called for Sanford to step down -- he says it's not his call -- he has admitted to discussing with state Republican leaders the possibility of not running for governor in 2010 in exchange for taking over the governor's mansion now.

Both Bauer and Sanford have publicly held conservative views. Bauer has defended the state government's right to issue license plates with crosses on them and the phrase, "I Believe." He has also advocated the right for schools to use corporal punishment.

Sanford has consistently opposed any form of relationship recognition for gay and lesbian South Carolinians.

As a U.S. representative, Sanford voted in 1999 to bar gays and lesbians in the District of Columbia from adopting. In 2002, while running for governor, Sanford answered to a survey question that marriage should be restricted to heterosexual couples, and that same-sex partnerships should not be recognized with a separate accommodation such as civil unions.

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Michelle Garcia